“To inspire wonder, discovery, recreation and stewardship of our

natural and cultural treasures in Mendocino County’s State Parks”



Picture credit to Keith Wyner


Attending the World Championship Abalone Cook-Off as a competing cook or a tasting judge is a fun and exciting way for people to help MAPA support our parks.

There are 2 way's to enjoy the Abalone Cook-Off. The first requires no tickets and is free to the public. The free entry does not include any tasting but allows the person or persons to enjoy the festival as a whole. The second way is to purchase "Judging Tickets" which allows the purchaser of the ticket to taste a variety of the cooks Abalone recipe's and to vote for the winner.

Abalone Cook-Off Competition: Competing cooks prepare their favorite recipes in hopes of winning a World Championship Trophy and/or Grand Prize. Judging tickets allow the purchaser to judge up to ten delicious recipes in the competition and vote for their favorite dish. "Up to 10" means that MAPA cannot guarantee 10 tastes because ocean conditions might affect divers' ability to find abalone. The abalone prepared in the cook-off is wild-caught, not farm-raised, making this a unique experience. Judging is based on taste, texture/tenderness and presentation.

Festival: Live music, beer booth, Gai's Cafe food booth, silent auction, craft fair, raffle and wine tasting from Mendocino's finest wineries!

The cook-off is held in memory of Ken Tallman, and in honor of Sub-Surface Progression Dive Shop and the Tallman Family who donate the prizes.

Judging tickets go on sale to our members beginning June 1st each year and July 1st to the general public.

MAPA Members receive discounted advance ticket purchase options! to become a member, call the MAPA office between 9am and 4pm Monday-Friday OR visit our Membership Page!


2015 Picture credit to Keith Wyner

How It Works!

At the Festival portion of the event you may enjoy the music and purchase food (except the competition prepared abalone), wine, beer, and participate in the other great happenings that are going on at the scenic South Noyo Harbor.

A Judging Ticket is required to be a judge in the abalone cook-off competition and to taste the delicious wild abalone recipes prepared by the competing cooks. Be sure to vote for your favorite!

Information about the cook-off competition:

One ticket allows the purchaser to serve as a cook-off competition judge with up to 10 tastes of the competing cooks' recipes and to vote for the tastiest dish. 'Up to 10' means that MAPA cannot guarantee the number of tastes due to circumstances beyond our control, for example, hazardous ocean conditions or personal emergencies. The cook-off provides an opportunity to taste a variety of delicious recipes.

Each ticket will be assigned to one of three cook color-groups that will have up to 10 cook booths. By dividing the cooks into three groups, the cooks only have to provide 200 tastings instead of 600 (the maximum # of tickets sold).

Note: The cook teams dive for their own wild abalone and follow the Fish and Game rules when diving for and preparing the abalone. Wild abalone is illegal to sell or to buy in California, although farm-raised is not.

PETS: The Health Code dictates that no pets be brought onto the site because food is being prepared. Be careful about leaving them in the car.

ALCOHOL: The Sheriff's department states that no one can bring alcohol onto the event site. MAPA will have beer, wine and beverages available.

CANOPIES: Only MAPA canopies and registered cook canopies are allowed. You are welcome to bring in your own chairs.

The WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ABALONE COOK-OFF & Festival  is MAPA's biggest and most important fundraiser and we appreciate your support!!

With gratitude,

Mendocino Area Parks Association